Court: No need to give Najib copy of letter making Sulaiman Abdullah lead prosecutor

Sulaiman Abdullah was appointed by AG Tommy Thomas as ad-hoc prosecutor to handle the SRC and 1MDB cases respectively. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today dismissed an application by Najib Razak to obtain a copy of the appointment letter that authorised lawyer Sulaiman Abdulah to lead the prosecution against the ex-prime minister in the SRC International case.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said there was no legal requirement that Sulaiman’s letter of authority must be given to the accused (Najib).

“However, Sulaiman’s instrument of appointment could be shown to the court,” he said.

The judge also said there appeared to be a certain lack of clarity in Sulaiman’s appointment and this could be a subject to a challenge on another occasion.

Nazlan said in the present case, Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas, who is also the public prosecutor, had issued a crystal clear media release on Aug 31 on Sulaiman’s appointment as ad-hoc deputy public prosecutor.

“The public prosecutor has made a public announcement through the media but this is no substitute to a fiat (licence ) to Sulaiman,” he said.

Nazlan also said once Sulaiman’s letter of authority was classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), it could not be questioned in a court of law.

Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah informed the court that he had instructions to lodge an appeal in the Court of Appeal.

“We will be filing the notice of appeal tomorrow and hope your Lordship can prepare the grounds of judgment expeditiously,” he said.

On Nov 26, Najib filed the application to compel the government to produce the licence issued by Thomas to Sulaiman.

However, the Attorney-General’s Chambers said the appointment letter was a classified document under the OSA.

On Aug 31, Sulaiman and retired judge Gopal Sri Ram were appointed by Thomas as ad-hoc prosecutors to handle the SRC and 1MDB cases respectively.

Sri Ram was appointed senior deputy public prosecutor to spearhead the process of studying investigation papers, drafting charges and prosecuting any accused charged with 1MDB-related offences.

Najib was charged in July with money laundering and CBT offences in the transfer of RM42 million into his account from former 1MDB unit, SRC International.

He is also accused of abusing his power as the prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Inc.